First off a re-cap on what a Meta-Title is - also known as a ‘title tag’ - essentially it’s the title of your webpage and should give an accurate description of the content on that page, they show as the title of your web browser and if a page is shared on social networks, it will use the title there too.
How does Google use Meta-Titles?
Google will use your Meta-Title to determine whether your content is relevant to the searchers purpose, it is a HTML element so doesn’t necessarily show on your actual web page as a title. It is the clickable headline on a search engine results page and should be short but descriptive, this is what the user is going to see first and can determine whether they click on your link or not.
What makes a Meta-Title?
Let’s now look at what elements to think about when creating your Meta-Titles and the rules to follow to get them noticed by Google.
First of all, it should contain your page’s priority keyword or phrase - it is telling the user what the page contains in a nutshell so put your important keywords first if you can. For example if you are florist company you would want to include this in particular.
Be mindful of the length, typically Google can show 50-60 characters, too many and it will display ‘…’ it’s also worth mentioning the use of too many capital letters, only use if necessary, they take up more space!
Think about how your visitor is going to search and what would be the most appealing to them, don’t overdo it on keywords, keep it natural.
Try and avoid using the same meta-titles for other pages, it can look like you have duplicate content.
What makes a good Μeta-Title?
Being unique, natural and not too lengthy unless necessary, putting in your main keywords (but not too many that it doesn’t make sense) and ensuring that your title relates to the content on the page.
Use your brand if it’s well known, it’s usually recommended to put this at the end of your title but it is dependent on the page it’s for.
Remember, you are writing this for your potential visitors, do your research to get the right keywords and make sure you are putting across the right message while potentially increasing your rankings. Also, a good tip to remember is if your content changes with the seasons make sure that your title tags are up to date.
A good basic template to go by: Primary keyword | Secondary keyword | Brand.
So, what makes a bad Μeta-Title?
If Google doesn’t display your specific title tag don’t panic, lets look at why this could happen and what can be done to ensure they use the title you want.
First of all, does your title match the query? - it isn’t going to match 100% of the time but if your competitors are showing, it’s worth going back to researching for your keywords and rewrite your title to better match your searchers purpose.
Keyword stuffing – Often determined by repeating keywords but in different variants, i.e. 'Cheap flights, search with us for cheap flights'. Try and make your title natural, it doesn't matter where your page ranks if no one understands the title enough to click on it.
If you use an alternate title for social media Google sometimes picks this up instead, it’s not always a bad thing but consider changing this if it isn’t matching your users intent.
Here are some good examples of getting your title right - to the point but telling you exactly what the site is about with their branding included too!
Searched for ‘Web design Sheffield’
Searched for 'Flooring suppliers Chesterfield'
So we know what good and bad titles look like, and we know to pay attention to keywords while really focusing on making our titles look good to the user, on our final instalment we will look at Meta-Descriptions, how they are used by Google and how to write them effectively.
Want to know more or need some support on SEO?
Find out more here.